A combination photograph shows U.S. President Barack Obama in between phone calls to campaign volunteers during a visit to a campaign field office in Chicago, and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney walking out of the polling station after voting in Belmont, Massachusetts respectively on election day, November 6, 2012 (Photo : Reuters)
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While the presidential election is tomorrow, many states allow early voting, and over 32 million people across the country have already cast their ballots.
Early votes tend to be a boon for Democrats, as their constituency is more likely to have difficulty getting to the polls on Election Day, either because of work, children, health concerns or transportation issues.
In 2008, 39.7 million voters cast early ballots, representing 30 percent of all ballots cast in that election. That was a significant increase from 2004, when only 20 percent of voters cast ballots before Election Day.
This year may not continue the trend, as turnout may be lower overall. That could prove to be a boon to Republicans in crucial swing states.
None of the votes will be counted until Election Day tomorrow, but according to the Associated Press, these are the party affiliations for those voters who have already cast ballots this election in the most important swing states:
Colorado - 1,872,987 votes
Republicans: 34 percent, Democrats: 36 percent
Advantage: Democrats +2 percent
Florida - 4,469,393 votes
Democrats: 43 percent, Republicans: 39 percent
Advantage: Democrats +4 percent
Iowa - 673,124 votes
Democrats: 42 percent, Republicans: 32 percent
Advantage: Democrats +10 percent
Nevada - 702,000 votes
Democrats: 44 percent, Republicans: 37 percent
Advantage: Democrats +7 percent
North Carolina - 2,757,476 votes
Democrats: 48 percent, Republicans: 32 percent
Advantage: Democrats +16 percent
Ohio - 1,791,334 votes
Democrats: 29 percent, Republicans: 23 percent
Advantage: Democrats +6 percent
Ohio's percentages for both parties are low because party affiliation either couldn't be identified for many voters or the voter identified as independent.
Democrats still lead in the early voting numbers in every swing state, including Colorado, which leaned slightly Republican yesterday, and in these states they lead by a huge margin.
However, while early voting data can give some clues as to how the rest of a state will vote, it isn't necessarily reliable. And since early voters tend to be Democrats, we may see a surge of Republican voters today.
Also, if the election is very close, states need to count absentee ballots, which tend to skew Republican, as many of those ballots come from military personnel stationed overseas.